Egypt follows up Palestinian reconciliation deal

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Egypt is closely eyeing the implementation of the Palestinian reconciliation agreement that was signed in Cairo on Wednesday, a high-level Egyptian official said on Saturday 7/5/2011.

Egypt is holding contacts with all Palestinian factions to carry out the first agreed-upon step, which is freeing detainees and forming a government, the official, who declined to be identified, told MENA.

Egypt has asked Hamas and Fatah movements to start taking measures to rebuild mutual confidence, including ending instigation in media outlets, unifying media discourse and lifting media restrictions, he said.

Hamas and Fatah are soon going to gradually set free detainees held by both sides to close this file for good, he said.

All Fatah cadres who were expelled from Gaza in 2007 can now return to the coastal enclave, the high-level Egyptian official said. "But we did not set a date for their return because many of them have children in schools and would not be able to return right away so as not to interrupt their studies. Egypt will not exercise any pressure on anyone who is unwilling to return to Gaza now," he said.

He unveiled intensive talks between Hamas and Fatah to form a transitional government in consultation with other Palestinian factions. The transitional government will have great responsibilities, especially as regards preparing for the elections and rebuilding Gaza.

Under the reconciliation deal, the transitional government is tasked with providing an appropriate atmosphere for elections, rebuilding Gaza, unifying Palestinian institutions in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and following up the reconciliation process.

About Egypt's promise on Rafah crossing, he said this issue is now being studied by specialized bodies to lay down necessary regulations governing the operation of the checkpoint in a way that would facilitate the life of the Gaza inhabitants.